Letters to the Editor: March 22

Looking for historic help; Our wildlife (mis)management

Looking for help

August 6, 1926 put Cranbrook on the map to the rest of the world. This was the beginning day of the now famous “Great Elephant Hunt”. It began with the escape of the elephants being unloaded from the train and ended with the final capture of Cranbrook Ed. The Cranbrook History Centre would be interested in hearing from anyone in our community who may have experienced being in Cranbrook, 91 years ago, during this escapade.

Next month a film crew from the coast is visiting Cranbrook to document the story of the elephants’ escape and consequent capture. Having a first-hand account of this adventure would certainly add to the story.

Also, the Cranbrook History centre would be interested in seeing any early 1900’s photographs of Baker Street. We are particularly keen to see photos of the block which includes the Raworth and Mercantile stores ( now Delamont’s to Western Financial ). If you are able to help in either of these research requests please contact the Cranbrook History Centre at 250-489-3918.

Dave Humphrey

Cranbrook

Our wildlife (mis)management

In a recent letter, Mark Hall, vice president of the EK Wildlife Association, presented a detailed account on the implications brought forward by humans intervening to feed our struggling ungulate population. When I first heard about this issue, like most I thought it was a good idea for locals to supply hay and feed to help curb this problem. But after reading the article about the side effects of this type of feeding, I became doubtful.

Of course no one wants to see our wildlife suffering and starving for lack of food — but if human feeding in turn endangers their well-being in the long run by the possibility of spreading infectious disease, or disrupting digestion from exposure to feed their systems are not accustomed to, this becomes an additional problem. As Mr. Hall stated: “Ungulates benefit more when we preserve and restore natural habits on a continual basis and reduce human caused disturbances…” (i.e. over development and hunting).

I am a “true wildlife lover” as I love animals and do not hunt. As well-intentioned as Bill Bennett, Carmen Purdy and others may be by wanting to “help” our affected ungulate population, am I the only one that finds the complete irony in this? It seems to me the ONLY reason groups such as the Kootenay Wildlife Heritage Fund and EK Wildlife Association are concerned about wildlife numbers is because they want a plentiful population to prey upon and kill come hunting season. Would they be putting in the same amount of effort if it were truly to “help” the wildlife? I don’t think they’d have nearly as much of a vested interest.

I had to shake my head when Purdy said “the NDP cannot be trusted to do anything for wildlife, look at their most recent announcement to ban grizzly bear hunting”… Well, that is actually a political party working toward the benefit of wildlife, in that they want to protect the grizzly bear population and you know, stop killing them. Not to mention the trophy hunt ban is supported by the majority of BC citizens, a high 90 percent approval of those against it. Both he and Bennett should not be taking this sensitive issue of wildlife management and turning it into a political agenda.

If not for our continued human interference, wildlife would naturally manage itself. When we try to control specific animal populations, be it urban deer, predators or larger populations, we are affecting naturally occurring adaptation, eco-systems, trophic cascades andkeystone species. I don’t want to see any of our local wildlife perish but that is sometimes unfortunately the circle of life — when will we learn to stop the controlling and killing, and leave the animals alone.

Michelle Longstaff